The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 2018
Synopsis: Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?
Review: Ok, I take back what I said a while back about being annoyed with authors currently using alcohol addiction as the method of choice to create an unreliable narrator/character–especially when it’s as well written as Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant.
Cassie’s struggle with alcohol is very authentic in the moment, but apart from waking up in a dead man’s bed, there seems to be little consequence for her drinking… not much in the way of hangovers! As someone who has struggled off and on for years with alcohol, I can vouch for a lot of the feelings Cassie had, particularly on days when she told herself she wouldn’t drink but ends up at the bottom of a glass anyhow. Personal struggles aside, I really enjoyed Cassie’s flawed character. I’ve never imagined being a flight attendant would be overly glamorous, and this only solidified that for me.
I did like the FBI reports interspersed throughout the book and felt like they added to the overall plot very well. I wasn’t too sure about the agents themselves–I was in total disbelief that Cassie was allowed to fly out of the country in the middle of an ongoing investigation that, let’s be honest, she was at the wrong end of throughout.
The Flight Attendant would be a great summer/beach/vacation read. It’s thrilling enough to keep you turning pages, but you also don’t need to map out characters and plots to try and keep up with things. Maybe hold off from reading it on the plane, though!
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.